Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Slander?

What do you think of gay people who insist that certain people who are straight are really gay? Is it fair of them to slander these people by insisting that they're gay? Do you think that's right? Anon.

Slander??? I reject your whole premise. Unless you think there's something wrong with being gay -- which I certainly don't -- then a person is hardly committing slander by suggesting that someone is homosexual. There is a big difference between a homophobic person "accusing" someone of being gay or someone suggesting someone is gay as a way of putting them down (as if being gay is something to be ashamed of) and someone who is either gay or supportive of gays suggesting that a certain individual might be gay in a non-judgmental way.

I don't think it's right to say that someone is definitely gay when you don't know for sure (and certainly if you know or think the person is genuinely heterosexual) because a.) it's inaccurate and b.) it could lead to discrimination against that person (although some people think every straight person should walk in our shoes for awhile ... )

Sadly, today you can be accused of libel or slander for saying someone is gay if they're not (or even if they are, in which case you better have plenty of their same-sex partners available to testify on your behalf), even if you yourself are gay or pro-gay. Homosexuality is still considered something dirty, a filthy little secret, by far too many people.

On American Idol judge Simon Cowell was always "gay-baiting" host Ryan Seacrest by passing remarks suggesting he was homosexual (in time Seacrest did the same to Cowell). It was not only offensive and homophobic, but it added nothing of intelligence to America's discussion of homosexuality and perpetuated the stereotype that being gay is something negative. Just as bad, people theorized that Cowell had to be gay himself because he was "bitchy," another stereotype applied to homosexual men. To suggest that all gay men are big bitches is as ludicrous as suggesting that no straight men can be "bitchy" -- and they can be, believe me!

Gay people often wonder about or suggest someone straight-identified is gay because we know that even in the 21st century there are a great many homosexual people in the closet, leading straight lives, on the down-low, or who consider themselves heterosexual even though they have same-sex encounters on a regular basis. You''ll have to forgive me if I'm a bit cynical (or realistic) on the subject, but I've had years of experience.

Besides, how do you know we're wrong when we say someone you think is straight is really gay?

Maybe we know more than you do?

1 comment:

CupidsReviews Heidi said...

One thing I haven't heard mentioned here is 'gaydar', though not always accurate it is more often than not. However, I believe that insisting that somebody who is not out is gay can be highly detrimental. If they aren't well you are just in the wrong, and if they are you may actually be hindering their coming out process by being so aggressive about it. In my case, I may once have wanted to prove somebody wrong even though they were not. It's something that people should discover in their own way and time, not have it forced upon them.